Color Charts: A Historical Perspective

Quite beautiful in their own right, color charts have been used throughout history as a means to understand and document the color theories of the time.

Philosophers, inventors, mathematicians, painters and even butterfly experts have all tried to create the perfect chromatic diagram. Be it a wheel, a grid, a list, a pyramid or a globe, each has attempted to capture the scientific magic of reflected wavelengths.

1. Entomologist Moses Harris’ 1766 model from the Natural Systems of Colors.
2. Viennese butterfly expert Ignaz Schiffermüller’s 1775 color wheel was designed to help him accurately identify the colors he encountered in nature studies.
3. Naturalist and inventor Jacob Christian Schäffer’ s 1769 color system was developed as a hierarchy to explain how primary colors could be combined to create a multitude of shades.

Visit Imprint for more information in their two-part series on the fascinating history and artistry of color wheels.

Images: Imprint